Health Minister Ron Liepert announced yesterday that all ambulance and EMS services will be delivered, and paid for, by the recently-created health super authority. The details of this new governance model have yet to be determined, but the Canadian Union of Public Employees locals responsible for EMS services are cautiously optimistic about some of the impacts it will have.
“We are pleased that the Minister has recognized EMS practitioners as highly trained, health care professionals that provide front line health care,” said CUPE Local 3421 President Rick Fraser. “We are encouraged that this announcement also provides increased funding levels that have been long overdue.”
“We look forward to participating in future discussions regarding the management and delivery of Emergency Medical Services in Calgary,” he concluded.
Across Alberta, municipalities large and small have developed and invested in EMS services for their communities. The Government announcement includes the possibility for continued municipal delivery in a contractual relationship with the Provincial Health Board. CUPE will work with our municipal employers to secure the best method to delivery EMS services in communities across the province.
One change that has been announced and is cause for concern is the removal of the right for EMS workers to strike.
“It is our position that labour disputes should be resolved through free collective bargaining,” said CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz. “In almost
every case, negotiated settlements between employers and union are achieved without resorting to job action. Recent difficulties reaching collective
agreements, in our view, directly reflect underlying problems with funding levels.”
“We would like to participate in the decision making process around this,” said CUPE Local 3197 President Gerry Wiles. “So we can help monitor and
maintain the interests of public and the paramedics.”
CUPE will release further reaction to this new governance model as details become available.
For further information: D’Arcy Lanovaz, President CUPE Alberta: (cell)
(403) 861-5235; Audra Williams, Communications Representative CUPE: (cell)
(780) 504-2837; Tim Ford, Calgary Paramedics: (cell) (403) 828-8946; Gerry
Wiles, Edmonton Paramedics (cell) (780) 718-1078